For one reason or another, sometimes it's best to ditch the washing machine and take a manual approach. While hand-washing is typically reserved for delicate items — bras and underwear, namely — it's an effective option for most types of clothing, especially if you don't have a large enough load to make a trip to the laundromat worthwhile.
Before heading to your sink, take a look at your garment's care and fiber tag for water temperature guidelines and further washing instructions. If the label says, "dry clean," as opposed to "dry clean only," it may be safe to wash in the sink — and lower your dry cleaning bill in the process. To err on the side of caution, test your garment by placing a drop of water in a hidden spot and blotting with a paper towel. If no color comes off or it doesn’t leave a water spot, then it should be safe to hand-wash. Although the care instructions may vary from one clothing type to the next, the same step-by-step method applies, no matter if you're working with wool, silk, or cotton.
Whether you're tackling a wine stain or simply need to spruce up a blouse before its next wear, take a tip from an expert — Carolyn Forte, the director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab — on the foolproof way to hand-wash clothes.
How to Hand-Wash Clothes
Washing clothes by hand is by far the most gentle approach. That means, you want to treat your garments with an extreme level of care throughout the entire cleaning process. To save time, feel free to wash likes with likes a.k.a. garments in the same color and fabric type. Follow this step-by-step guide for most garments (but keep on reading for more specific how-tos for bras, underwear, and sweaters):
How to Hand-Wash Bras and Delicate Lingerie
While throwing your bra in the washing machine may seem like a quick fix, it can be damaging in the long-run. Washing your bras by hand is the recommended method by lingerie brands and designers since it helps your undergarments keep their shape and fit. Good news for you: It's seriously easy to do.
How to Hand-Wash UnderwearBeeldbewerkingGetty Images
Similar to bras, there are some underwear styles that should be washed by hand. Follow this how-to guide the next time you clean your silk, lace, or delicate underwear.
How to Hand-Wash Sweaters
We all have that one sweater that we love ... except for the fact that it requires a trip to the dry cleaner after each wear.If it's marked "dry clean" on the care tag, it may be safe to wash your sweater right at home.